Breast Cancer And Depression

Breast Cancer and Depression—What to Look Out For

A breast cancer diagnosis has a huge impact on your life and those around you. Feeling sad, shocked or angry are natural emotions that accompany cancer and it is important to find an outlet to express yourself. Just as it is important to take care of your body, you also need to be aware of how you are feeling, and acknowledge these emotions so they don’t go unresolved.

In addition to the shock of diagnosis, some cancer treatments may contribute to depression. Hormonal therapies can affect your disposition, and bring about mood swings. Chemotherapy can cause such uncomfortable side effects, that you may find less enjoyment out of daily activities. Side effects may also impact you at night and affect your ability to sleep, leaving you exhausted and unable to function or think properly. When you put all this together, it can make you feel quite low.

It is important to watch out for symptoms of depression, so you can get the help you need. Ask a close relative or friend to help watch your moods.

Common depression indicators, you should be aware of are:

  • Fatigue: This is the most often occurring symptom of depression. You may find yourself feeling drained, and losing energy without a reason.
  • Loss of Interest: Activities you usually enjoy lack excitement or pleasure. You may find yourself avoiding social interactions as you lose enthusiasm.
  • Feeling Overwhelmed or Hopeless: Feeling like your problems are too big to fix, that you won’t make a difference, and aren’t worth being valued are often felt among people with depression.
  • Changes in Sleeping Habits: You may find yourself sleeping all day long or that it is hard to get out of bed. It may also be the opposite, that when you lie down your mind can’t stop racing and can’t settle down, keeping you up.
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide: Sometimes someone with depression may have thoughts about harming themselves. If this happens it is very important to get help and discuss these thoughts with your doctor or a therapist.

Whether you have depression or not, if you are diagnosed with cancer it is a good idea to join a support group, attend counseling or therapy sessions, or talk about how you are feeling with a close friend. Talking about your feelings and sharing your experiences with others can help you cope and will reinforce the fact that you are not alone.